Shopping Centres (Crime)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th March 1999.

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Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Labour, Northampton North 12:00 am, 15th March 1999

What steps he is taking to reduce crime in shopping centres. [74589]

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office

Crime and the fear of crime are major factors in the success, or otherwise, of town centres. Our new crime and disorder partnerships invite the business sector to participate in the development of strategy. In addition, the retail crime reduction action team, which was set up under the aegis of the Home Office, has recently published a guide called "Community Crime Reduction Partnerships: the Retail Contribution". This provides advice to the crime and disorder partnerships on how further to involve the retail industry in their audit and strategy development work, paying particular attention to town centres.

Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Labour, Northampton North

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. However, does he agree that there is a problem with the displacement of crime from the larger shopping centres, which have security guards or which can afford closed circuit television, to some of the smaller suburban centres, which are highly prized by the local community? Would it be possible for some of the £170 million set aside in the Budget for law and order to go towards improving security in smaller centres through CCTV and other schemes to make people feel safer as they go about their ordinary business?

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office

My hon. Friend is right to say that there is concern at some shopping centres. In his Budget, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced that an additional £170 million would be made available over the next three years for crime prevention where crime is highest. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make a further announcement to the House in the light of the Chancellor's statement. The money will be split between the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Home Office and will commence in 1999ߝ2000. Bids will be invited through a challenge fund from local crime reduction partnerships.